The heat and flames were so intense, firefighters had to knock down the fire before they could complete the initial search, May said. Randy Zimmer's body was discovered in the kitchen during a secondary search.
The 51-year-old man's girlfriend, Rachel Baker, spoke to News On 6. She said she was asleep, and when she woke up the back of the house was on fire. She was able to escape, but Zimmer did not did not make it out.
"He ran back there after I ran back there, and he didn't come back," Baker said. "I came outside; he was yelling back there. There were a couple of other people - neighbors - we all yelled for him to come out; he just all of a sudden quit talking."
One of those neighbors was Casey Dickens. He saw the smoke from two blocks away, ran to the fire and tried to get Zimmer out.
"He wouldn't come out," Dickens said. "We yelled at him, he was like, 'no,' so we backed out."
Dickens says the smoke was so thick it was hard for anyone to go inside the home.
"Another guy went about five foot in," he said. "You couldn't see anything, so that's all you could do. He kept saying, 'No.'"
May said they brought out additional engines because of the number of 911 calls. With the high temperature, they used precautions to make sure firefighters don't fall victim to heat exhaustion.
No word yet on what caused the fire.